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Cultural competence and social work education: Moving toward assessment of practice behaviors

Social work educators are responsible for ensuring that future practitioners are culturally competent and have the ability to work effectively with people from different backgrounds. The purpose of this article is to address the current limitations in measuring cultural competence and to report the results of a qualitative study examining stakeholders’ conceptualizations of the definition, educational process, and evaluation of cultural competence in social work education. Findings support long-standing assumptions in the literature regarding the need for social workers to develop certain knowledge and attitudes as prerequisites of becoming culturally competent, and emphasize the need for further exploration of the way social workers define cultural competence, translate it into discrete practice behaviors, and assess how students demonstrate these behaviors.

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Evaluation of a continuing education training on client financial capability

The researchers conducted an evaluation study assessing outcomes among 37 social workers who completed a continuing education course on financial capability and working with clients. Key constructs assessed included participants’ attitudes about financial capability, self-efficacy to provide services, organizational barriers, and basic financial knowledge. Social work participants reported that financial problems among their clients were almost unanimous as a reason for seeking services.

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Proximate outcomes of service-learning among family studies undergraduates

Attitudes in academics, career, civic responsibility, and empowerment were reported before and after 143 undergraduate Family Studies students completed a servicelearning project. Results suggested improved academic and career post-test scores. Civic responsibility and empowerment improved but not significantly. Open-ended responses suggested three additional outcomes: group work, leadership, and empathy. Implications for academic programs focused on engaging students in service-learning projects working with or on behalf of families are discussed.

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Last Updated: 9/9/19